PLUMSTED PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH
February 7, 2021— 5th Sunday after Epiphany
Welcome and Announcements
Call to worship
Let us worship and sing praises to God,
for the Lord is gracious and worthy of praise!
God gathers the outcasts and heals the brokenhearted.
God gives the stars their names
and makes grass grow on the hills.
Let us hope in God’s steadfast love
and worship God together!
Prayer of the Day
Faithful God, you have appointed us your witnesses, to be light that shines in the world. Let us not hide the bright hope you have given us, but tell everyone your love, revealed in Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
Confession and Assurance
Nothing can be hidden from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth, whose wisdom is endless, whose mercy is great. Trusting in God’s grace, let us confess our sin.
O God you bring healing to our lives and comfort to our hearts. Forgive us, O Lord, when we contribute to the things that break your heart. You would have us share our gifts with the world, but we keep our resources close and our minds closed. You would have us live in faithful community, but we isolate ourselves and eye our neighbors with mistrust. You would have us see all people as our siblings, but we try to separate ourselves from anyone whose existence challenges our comfort.
Forgive us, O God, by your grace, and free us to be agents of your healing.
Those who trust in God will renew their strength. They will run and not be weary, they will walk and not grow faint. In the name of Jesus Christ, we are forgiven!
Thanks be to God.
Prayer for illumination
Saving God, source of our calling, your Word is full of power and glory. Pour out your Holy Spirit upon us so that we may receive your grace and live as your beloved children; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Scripture Isaiah 40:1-31Comfort, O comfort my people, says your God. Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and cry to her that she has served her term, that her penalty is paid, that she has received from the Lord’s hand double for all her sins.
A voice cries out: “In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Every valley shall be lifted up, and every mountain and hill be made low; the uneven ground shall become level, and the rough places a plain. Then the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all people shall see it together, for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.” A voice says, “Cry out!” And I said, “What shall I cry?” All people are grass, their constancy is like the flower of the field. The grass withers, the flower fades, when the breath of the Lord blows upon it; surely the people are grass. The grass withers, the flower fades; but the word of our God will stand forever.
Get you up to a high mountain, O Zion, herald of good tidings; lift up your voice with strength, O Jerusalem, herald of good tidings, lift it up, do not fear; say to the cities of Judah, “Here is your God!” See, the Lord God comes with might, and his arm rules for him; his reward is with him, and his recompense before him. He will feed his flock like a shepherd; he will gather the lambs in his arms, and carry them in his bosom, and gently lead the mother sheep.
Who has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand and marked off the heavens with a span, enclosed the dust of the earth in a measure, and weighed the mountains in scales and the hills in a balance? Who has directed the spirit of the Lord, or as his counselor has instructed him? Whom did he consult for his enlightenment, and who taught him the path of justice? Who taught him knowledge, and showed him the way of understanding? Even the nations are like a drop from a bucket, and are accounted as dust on the scales; see, he takes up the isles like fine dust. Lebanon would not provide fuel enough, nor are its animals enough for a burnt offering. All the nations are as nothing before him; they are accounted by him as less than nothing and emptiness.
To whom then will you liken God, or what likeness compare with him? An idol? —A workman casts it, and a goldsmith overlays it with gold, and casts for it silver chains. As a gift one chooses mulberry wood—wood that will not rot— then seeks out a skilled artisan to set up an image that will not topple. Have you not known? Have you not heard? Has it not been told you from the beginning? Have you not understood from the foundations of the earth? It is he who sits above the circle of the earth, and its inhabitants are like grasshoppers; who stretches out the heavens like a curtain, and spreads them like a tent to live in; who brings princes to naught, and makes the rulers of the earth as nothing. Scarcely are they planted, scarcely sown, scarcely has their stem taken root in the earth, when he blows upon them, and they wither, and the tempest carries them off like stubble. To whom then will you compare me, or who is my equal? says the Holy One. Lift up your eyes on high and see: Who created these? He who brings out their host and numbers them, calling them all by name; because he is great in strength, mighty in power, not one is missing.
Why do you say, O Jacob, and speak, O Israel, “My way is hidden from the Lord, and my right is disregarded by my God”? Have you not known? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the faint, and strengthens the powerless. Even youths will faint and be weary, and the young will fall exhausted; but those who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.
Affirmation of Faith
In Jesus of Nazareth, true humanity was realized once for all. Jesus, a Palestinian Jew, lived among his own people and shared their needs, temptations, joys, and sorrows. He expressed the love of God in word and deed and became a brother to all kinds of sinful men and women. But his complete obedience led him into conflict with his people. His life and teaching judged their goodness, religious aspirations, and national hopes. Many rejected him and demanded his death. In giving himself freely for them, he took upon himself the judgment under which everyone stands convicted. God raised him from the dead, vindicating him as Messiah and Lord. The victim of sin became the victor, and won the victory over sin and death for all.
Sharing of joys and concerns
Prayers of Intercession
For the church, the world, and all in need, let us pray to the Lord, saying:
God of grace, hear our prayer.
The Lord’s Prayer
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen.
God is the giver and source of all that is good. We acknowledge the abundance of gifts that have been showered upon us, and now return a portion of them in the hope that they might serve Christ’s purposes in our community and in our world.
Gracious God, we offer our gifts to you that they may be sanctified and dedicated to ministries of reconciliation and justice in our church, our nation and our world. Receive these gifts as a sign of our commitment to follow Jesus as his disciples. Amen.
* Charge and Benediction